tv [untitled] November 21, 2014 2:00pm-2:31pm PST
medication as a very understandable response to internal pain. so we have 300 veterans living under our roof who are homeless. for young male veterans 18-24 they have a higher unemployment rate than their civilian counter parts. for veterans 18-30 years old living in poverty, veterans are 3.4 times more likely to become homeless and between the years of 2013-2014 we had 59 percent increase in veterans in the 18-24 age range in our transitional housing programs seeking assistance because they had become homeless which is a pretty alarming statistic in one 1 year of young veterans returning to
civilian life. what's going on here? in this junction we can only speculate, the va states war veterans are challenged with ptsd, there are 3500 current afghanistan veterans are in san francisco and they are challenged with this. traumatic brain injury is another condition we are seeing. depending on the injury a severe tbi can affect speech and attention and memory, concentration, impulsiveness. there is an estimate of four 4 percent having severe tbi that would translate to 175 city of
san franciscans with tbi and can affect their ability to concentrate. but it's very difficult to detect. just last week terry gross on fresh air wrote on single injuries to today's veterans, they include sorrow, grief, regulate, ale nation. -- alienation. this is something they had to do that goes against their value system, maybe they had to kill a child, maybe something they were horrified by. terry called it moral injury, the signature wound of a veteran. i would say it's a significant you -- signature wound of a war veteran. if we combine ptsd and tbi and moral injury, it's that many of our troops are going
to be compromised. it's critical that we keep a high awareness so that members of this group aren't lost to homelessness, that members of this group can work. just so something that we are watching out for and we believe everyone needs to watch out for. to go on, there are all sorts of disabling conditions that can affect the veterans, there is gulf war syndrome that includes symptoms of fatigue, cognitive issues, gastrointestinal problems and neurological issues. estimates are 25 percent that gulf war vets have some form of gulf war syndrome and this translates to 850 san francisco residents. i don't know if anyone has
ever witnessed having a severe lung reaction where they can't breathe. we've had that happen at our site. it's very scary to see but you can imagine how scary it is for the veteran experiencing it. one of the possible explanation for this are microscopic particles. the arena has shifted to the desert and all the pounding and dust combined with toxin chemicals can be breathed in and because they are so small they can get into lungs. that's one possible explanation. we don't know. open air burst, there are about 300 in the middle east. where they would take the garbage and put everything in open
air pits. dead animals, they would put them altogether and pour jet fuel on them and set them on fire. the problem is that this huge smoke columns can get into people's living quarters especially when the wind blows. where this is going, we don't know, but right now it's serious enough that the va has started an open burn pit registry in case this is affecting them. there is an agent orange registry, the va has an open registry for burn pits. when we look at the vietnam war veterans, 7500 live in san francisco, 2050 living with ptsd, we don't know how many have been
affected to agent orange, but many conditions. one thing we noted in our housing sites and most veterans are vietnam warrer -- era. we noticed they are getting older as a faster rate quickly. whether it's life in the streets, it could be agent orange exposure, we don't know, but it's really marked. when we look at veterans who are 60 but look 80. it's very telling that they suffer a great deal. and women veterans, there are approximately 2100 women veterans in san francisco, the unemployment rate is double, income is 25 percent lower, 20-30 percent may have mst,
military sexual trauma. it's especially debilitating. the symptoms from rape are more severe than from combat. the person petrators are often senior operators in authority and this is another layer of wounding. so there are, there is just looted of stuff that we need to watch out for and a lot of stuff that disabilities are affected and we have to look at the era and see what the disability might be and many of these wounds are invisible. that's what we have to keep a high awareness for. the good news is there is treatment for this disorder, ptsd can receive
treatment. the va is doing a great job. they have a ptsd specialist and fort miley and many of our veterans are working on their ptsd with the va. another good news is the homeless count is going down. since, it was over 1,000 in 2011, it's currently around 1116. it's gone down 30 percent. a lot of this is a huge effort by the city and agencies and va. a good example of some things happening right now is the facility that is opening up on kearney street by the hotel. this is a great collaboration between the city and va. they work very closely together to
take this stanford hotel that had a really bad reputation. they have renovated it and opening it up for 125 veterans. in august approximately 100 volunteers combed the city looking for homeless veterans looking in the streets, shelters, transitional housing programs and they took with them what's called a vi -- vulnerability index service planning and assistance tool, a tool to assess vulnerability in any population, but we used it with veterans, we questioned them on mental health, age, incarceration, homelessness. over 200 veterans were assessed during this effort and to date over 600 have been assessed. this is a huge chunk of
that 716. 125 of these veterans are going to be moving into kearney street, 250 kearney street facility. the va and city got together and collaborated to make this happen. so once it's full, we will be managing some of the work there will be providing the 24/7 coverage where we have monitors to make sure everybody is safe. this is a really great thing and we are very appreciative of the people that have come together to make this work. i know i'm running out of time. i just want to close by saying that i think the collaboration is critical and that this is going to take everyone working together as partners. everyone has to work together, agencies, hud, the city, the va, it is going to take like
hilary clinton said, "it's going to take a village" to get through this. i would like to quote -- "we need the vision of inter being, we belong together. we could not cut reality into pieces. the well being of this, is the well being of that. we have to do things together. veterans have experienced that make them the light at the tip of the candle and the war and the way to peace" in healing the wounds of war, we are ultimately healing ourselves. thank you so much for having us here today. >> thank you, questions from the council? i believe we have one from councilmember lara? >> i made notes on
questions. specifically through your speech i crossed them off. you covered a lot of areas in a very short time and i really appreciate your comments. >> councilmember kostanian? >> thank you for coming. you mentioned there were a number of people being incarcerated. can you tell me the percentage? >> i don't have the percentage, you mean the number of veterans that make-up the population? i don't have the percentage. but we can give you our e-mail and get back to you. that is another challenge with veterans with legal issues. unfortunately those legal issues result because of symptoms with ptsd. we have numerous cases when the police pull somebody over they have this guy in a uniform in a gun and leaning in a
window and it triggers them right back to the conflict. it is very serious. i'm glad that veterans court is up and running and we routinely take veterans out of jail and into our program as an arrangement. a lot of times they don't have a place to go and the va has staff that's dedicated and that's their job is to work in the jail with veterans to see if theca range for some type of soft landing in the community. >> back in the 70s or 80s i held support groups for veterans for ptsd. i noticed that some who were incarcerated, they really couldn't figure out why they did that. i'm just hoping that a lot more some covered. >> why they did kwha they did?
yeah, the emotional flooding when that occurs, the executive portion of the brain stops working and a lot of times there won't be a memory of what exactly happened. it's like having a blackout when somebody goes into that intense emotional reaction. >> thank you. >> councilmembers senhaux? >> i want to thank you for your presentation and being here today. i don't have any questions, just comments. i appreciate you giving me a better perspective on issues with veterans. a lot of times you see them on the street and they look drunk or high and we don't think of what caused them to get to that point such as examples you gave us and the correlation with disabilities and how the disabilities perspectives
in finding employment and housing opportunities. besides the horror stories i was happy to hear there are great success stories with the va and getting treatment and helping people get off the street and house them because they are a very valuable asset and they have served their country and they deserve the best they can get. i thank you for the work you do and for being here. >> thank you, one thing i didn't say was that one reason we know that the wounds can be healed is when we see their faces when they get an apartment or a job, you see the look of relief. you see the transformation. it's awesome to witness. >> i just had one quick question and comment. first thank you for coming here today and discussing
this matter. often we see in the disability community, people who do not know about veterans, they know about it but it's always something that they heard from someone else or part of a presentation. what do you see from the veteran population kant great more or where we can connect more to be more part of the community. i know the va plays a strong role in the service they provide but as far as extending that to other community agencies or other events to host where just anybody can connect with them better. i speak as a person with a disability, i would love to connection with that section of the disability community. it just seems kind of closed off. >> one idea is city college, for example has a veterans group
and social events open to everyone sponsored by such group maybe one way to enhance interactions between the civilian population and veterans. i think organizations, volunteer activities. i know the mindfulness community has started to reach out to the veteran population and are holding meditation retreats open to veterans and also their families and maybe expanding those sorts of social possibilities may be a way to move forward, maybe the various faith traditions can allow for activities that would provide more opportunities for people to meet each other. but it
is, you know, one of the challenges is that with returning troops, based on, depending on what they have experienced is they really don't feel like they can connect with someone who has been where they were so they don't feel they can relate. so that is a huge challenge, and unfortunately as a society, we are not exposed to that. we are protected from that. back in the 60s we saw the war come into living room on television every night, but now we are insulated. we don't get what it's like being back there. a huge piece of it is higher awareness on the part of us here that have not been there. i think that's really
important. the feeling that maybe we understand a little bit better. we can't never really understand but that we actually have a higher awareness would go a long way in promoting more interaction. >> thank you. i too feel there is a gap that is kind of missing that we are taught for support the troops. we see that in commercials going there and being there and coming home and welcoming a kid that surprises them but there is a gap that is never shown to the public. for the public to understand this, that gap needs to be filled. i really appreciate what you do. questions from the staff? we had one more comment. councilmember harriet wong?
>> perhaps in terms of social events, social connections for veterans, last year the san francisco veterans lions club was formed and they have had a tremendous growth in their club. so if anyone wants to google, i think her name is los os -- latonia humming bird. she will connect you with activities. lions is worldwide and we serve our communities and people. >> wonderful. >> i would like to make one last comment. it's latonia dixon.